Jareth the Goblin King
The antagonist of the film, and number one Fetish Fuel Station Attendant of '80s fantasy films. Jareth is the Goblin King, and is summoned accidentally by Sarah Williams to take away her annoying little brother Toby. Sarah changes her mind, so Jareth challenges her to find him in his labyrinth within thirteen hours or he turns into a goblin. He is often the source for Female Gaze, which does help when he's waving glass balls around.
- '80s Hair: Very big and poofy.
- Agent Peacock: He's very flamboyant but good at what he does.
- All Take and No Give: In a twisted way, Jareth claims to be all give while Sarah's all take. It's not clear if he actually sees the situation this way or if he's just trying to mess with her head...Sarah: Generous!? What have you done that's generous?Jareth: Everything! Everything that you wanted I have done! You asked that the child be taken, I took him. You cowered before me, and I was frightening. I have reordered time, I have turned the world upside down, and I have done it all for you! I am exhausted from living up to your expectations of me. Isn't that generous?
- Anti-Villain: Mostly because he doesn't seem actively malicious, just kind of a dick who likes beating people who challenge him.
- Crystal Ball: Jareth carries these around with them, waving them about, and can be used for Sinister Surveillance and to throw Sarah into a realistic dream.
- David Bowie: Pretty much the reason why so many enjoy this film.
- Deadpan Snarker:Sarah: That's not fair!Jareth: You say that so often, I wonder what your basis for comparison is?
- The Evil Prince: Or Goblin King in this case.
- The Fair Folk: This describes Jareth perfectly. Arrogance, rules lawyering, and being as unfair as possible while claiming he's being totally fair. Of course, when Sarah complains about things being unfair he wonders what Sarah's basis for comparison is.
- Intangible Man: During "Within You", Jareth phases through Sarah.
- It Amused Me: Jareth seems to have abducted Toby simply because his step-sister was careless about announcing her hidden wishes. The film presents this as either dream logic (if you think of the Labyrinth as a fantasy sequence) or the tradition among The Fair Folk of stealing babies. The manga set later in this universe subverts It Amused Me as a motive: the Goblin King owes a long-standing debt, and Jareth intends to pass the title of 'Goblin King on' to Toby so that he can Loophole Abuse his way out of paying.
- Jerkass: Toward just about anybody who doesn't adore him. Hoggle seems to be his favorite target.
- Laugh with Me: Just before "Magic Dance" starts, he motions for his goblin minions to laugh with him.
- He does it again later. Funnily, both times this is preceded by him telling the goblins to be quiet after they start laughing.
- The Man Behind the Curtain: Sarah finally realizes that beyond his labyrinth and illusions, he has no power to stop her from just taking Toby and going home. He doesn't even seem capable of refusing a direct request from her.
- Manipulative Bastard: In Return To Labyrinth, he has a goblin steal Toby's homework in order to lure him to the Labyrinth. The end result was an attempt to make Toby his heir.
- Murder the Hypotenuse: Subverted. The most he does to Hoggle is threaten to banish him to the Bog of Eternal Stench if Sarah kissed him.
- Ominous Owl: Jareth can shapeshift into a barn owl.
- Our Goblins Are Different: In folklore, one of the main attributes of goblins is that they steal babies. Jareth looks mostly human (if he wasn't a stolen baby himself).
- Painted-On Pants: Probably the one trope most associated with him.
- Pet the Dog: Despite being an insufferable jerk, Jareth is nice to the children he kidnaps and seems to enjoy playing with them. When Toby starts crying, Jareth launches into a song to make him stop—and it works. Toby even keeps laughing after Jareth throws him several feet into the air and lets another goblin catch him.
- He's not that much of a jerk to his goblin subjects either. They're seen participating with his dancing and singing, and they're scattered around his throne, not cowering or bowing before him. He even seems to let them drink his booze.
- Reality Warper: The further into the Labyrinth you are, the fewer restraints there are on Jareth's power.
- Satanic Archetype: The character was explicitly designed to essentially be Satan as an irresistibly alluring rock star.
- Slouch of Villainy: Jareth's preferred way of sitting on his throne.
- Stalker with a Crush: Displayed more in the manga.
- Stalker Without A Crush: This is reserved for Sarah's little brother.
- Unlimited Wardrobe: Maybe not unlimited, but he wears eight completely different costumes over the course of the film, often combining black boots, long, ragged cloaks, a black sparkly jacket, eye makeup, baggy shirts and contoured trousers in various ways. In most of his scenes, he wears a sickle-shaped pendant around his neck. He carries a riding crop in some scenes. (His hair style, however, remains consistent.) For the record, the film takes place in less than one night.
- Villainous Crush: The degree upon which he actually has a crush on Sarah isn't clear. On the one hand, he shows shades of jealousy, the dream sequence has romantic overtones, and he proposes to her at the end... but on the other, his motivation seems to be to trick Sarah into failing.
- Villain Song: Has several in the film, including "Magic Dance" and "Within You".
- Villain Love Song: "As the World Falls Down".
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: He can turn into an owl.
The Kid Heroine, Sarah does not wish to grow up and prefers a fantastical, theatrical life and does a lot of LARP. She wishes her brother Toby to be taken away by the Goblin King and it actually happens. Sarah races off into Jareth's labyrinth to find her brother, using her wits and imagination to take on its various puzzles and oddball characters.
- Be Careful What You Wish For: She wishes her brother Toby to be taken away by the Goblin King and it actually happens.
- Big Sister Instinct: This is shown more in the manga sequel than the movie. In the first chapter, she was the only one who showed up to Toby's play and made him dinner afterwards.
- Cool Teacher: Becomes a teacher in Return to Labyrinth.
- Dynamic Character: At the opening, Sarah is a Spoiled Brat who Thinks Like A Fairy Tale. By the end, she's learned how to balance her love of fantasy with adult responsibility.
- Girls Love Stuffed Animals: It's implied that she changes her mind in the end and starts putting them up.
- Growing Up Sucks: Sarah starts off with this belief but changes her views over the film.
- The Heroine: A variant on Campbell's traditional The Hero's Journey.
- I'm Not Afraid of You: How Sarah defeats Jareth.
- LARP: Seen doing this at the start of the film.
- Life Isn't Fair: Sarah says this a lot, but is scolded by both Jareth and Hoggle for thinking that way. She gradually grows out of this habit and accepts life isn't fair and complaining won't help.
- Make a Wish: It doesn't go well.
- Parental Abandonment: Sarah's mother left the family.
- Pimped-Out Dress: Sarah's dress in the ball scene with the huge skirt and Giant Poofy Sleeves.
- Smooch of Victory: Sarah gives one to Hoggle, not that he wants it.
- This Is Something She's Got to Do Herself: Sarah must face Jareth alone. Her friends ask why, but she replies "it has to be done that way".
- Wicked Stepmother: Sarah sees her stepmother as this, although said stepmother does not wish to be.
- Woman in White: She wears a lot of white.
- Wrong Genre Savvy: Starts out as this, then grows into the above during her Character Development.
Sarah's baby half-brother who annoys her with his constant crying. She wishes for Jareth to take him away, and he does just that. Sarah then makes it her mission to save her brother before he is turned into a goblin. In Return to Labyrinth, he is now 15 and is asked by Jareth to become his heir to the throne.
- Abusive Parents: Toby doesn't get on well with his mother.
- Annoying Younger Sibling: Sarah initially thought of him as this, despite him being a baby and constantly needing attention.
- Be Careful What You Wish For: Sarah's mistake costs Toby to be kidnapped.
- In the manga, he suffers much more than his sister. He makes selfish wishes and gets in trouble. Thanks a lot, Jareth.
- Blessed with Suck: When he is announced as the new Goblin King.
- Brother-Sister Team: Toby and Sarah are very close by the time of Return to Labyrinth.
- Distressed Dude: In the movie, he's abducted by Jareth; in the manga he's lured into the Labyrinth again and regularly placed in peril.
- Horrible Judge of Character: Justified as he is a baby. He won't stop crying despite Sarah's attempts to soothe him, but when Jareth sings a song to cheer him up, he immediately starts giggling.
- Idiot Hero: In some cases.
- Kidnapped by an Ally: Comes into play in Return to Labyrinth, when Toby and Jareth reunite many years after Jareth kidnapped him.
- Ordinary High-School Student: The manga describes him as this before his homework is stolen.
- Tagalong Kid: Subverted, since most of the time he is in Jareth's care.
A grouchy dwarf who Sarah meets at the entrance of the labyrinth. She later steals his treasures and forces him to guide her on-and-off through the labyrinth. Being a self-aware Dirty Coward, he fears Jareth's wrath and follows the king's instructions, giving Sarah a peach which sends her into a dream trap. He later comes to her aid in the Goblin City battle, and is forgiven by Sarah.
- Accidental Misnaming: A Running Gag where Sarah and Jareth repeatedly get Hoggle's name wrong, although Sarah gets it right eventually.
- Changed My Mind, Kid: The minute he realizes Jareth wants to hurt him for helping Sarah, he bails.
- Cool and Unusual Punishment: Jareth threatens to make Hoggle the Prince of the Bog of Eternal Stench should Sarah ever kiss him. She does.
- Return to Labyrinth shows Jareth kept his word and made Hoggle the bog's ruler.
- Dirty Coward: And he knows it.
- Heel-Face Turn: He starts out evil but then turns good.
- Lovable Traitor: Hoggle is caught between Sarah (who uses first Greed and then The Power of Friendship to influence him) and Jareth (who prefers the simple, straightforward method of scaring him.) So he's prone to switching sides.
- My God, What Have I Done?: After giving Sarah the peach.
- The Rival: Although he doesn't display any romantic interest in Sarah, Jareth still sees him as a threat. He even threatened to banish Hoggle to the Bog of Eternal Stench if Sarah gave him so much as one kiss.
- Samus Is a Girl: Hoggle was actually played by a woman physically, his voice done by Brian Henson off-screen.
- Wouldn't Hit a Girl: He's fine with ditching Sarah at a moment's notice, but when Jareth gives him the peach to drug Sarah with, Hoggle immediately asks what it does, asserting, "I won't do nothing to harm her!"
A Gentle Giant of a goblin, Ludo is saved by Sarah from some of Jareth's minions and he becomes her companion. He is smarter than he looks, and can summon living rocks by shouting loudly.
- The Big Guy: A Sasquatch-looking goblin.
- Dishing Out Dirt: With a loud roar, Ludo can summon an army of intelligent rocks which he uses to hilariously take out the goblin army.
- Gentle Giant: He's the largest member in the group, but he's very kind and lovable.
- Hulk Speak: Ludo refers to himself in the third person and, in general, only uses nouns and verbs.
Sir Didymus and Ambrosius
Sir Didymus is a small, furry, beast-like goblin who guards a Troll Bridge across the Bog of Eternal Stench. A chivalrous and honourable creature, Sir Didymus loves battle and is the most courageous goblin in the labyrinth. His "horse" is actually a sheepdog named Ambrosius who does not share his master's bravery.
- Blood Knight: Loves fighting.
- Bring It: Sir Didymus' reaction to the goblin army when they have him surrounded.
- Defeat Means Friendship: Has a duel with Ludo when they meet and they fight to a draw. Afterwards he calls Ludo a Worthy Opponent.
- Expy: Sir Didymus is extremely similar to Reepicheep.
- Furry Confusion: Sir Didymus who looks like a fox or a dog, rides the normal dog Ambrosius.
- Heroic BSOD: When Sara asks permission for Ludo and herself to go over the bridge, this incredibly obvious loophole to his vow requires a few seconds' thought.
- The Lancer: Support to The Hero Sarah. He's like the knight to her LARP princess.
- Knight In Shining Armour: Acts chivralous and refers to Sarah as "Lady Sarah".
- Lord Error-Prone: Sir Didymus is always under the belief a fight is going his way even if he is outnumbered or cornered.
- Troll Bridge: And none may cross it without Sir Didymus' permission!
A cute tiny blue caterpillar who Sarah meets in the outskirts of the Labyrinth. He invites her into his (tiny) hole to meet his wife and have a cup of tea, but then directs her to a path through the labyrinth.
- Idiot Hero: He sends Sarah on her way into the labyrinth, but tells her not to go left but instead right, later saying to himself that she would've gone straight to the castle. (Sarah, continuing her tradition of Poor Communication Kills, told him 'I have to find my way through the Labyrinth', not 'I have to find my way to the castle of the Goblin King.')note
- Spot of Tea : Asks Sarah at least twice to come in and meet the "missus"note and have a cup of tea.
The Wise Man
An elderly goblin who is said to be the wisest person in the labyrinth. Unfortunately, it takes him a while to give his cryptic advice and it does not help with the Deadpan Snarker bird hat he wears. He then expects some sort of donation afterwards.
- Cool Hat: If you consider a rude talking bird hat cool.
- Deadpan Snarker: The Bird Hat.It's so stimulating, being your hat.
- Involuntary Charity Donation: The Wiseman's Bird Hat pulls this on visitors when he is done giving them advice.
The Four Guards
Two sets of identical twins who guard two doorways with large shields. They play a Knights and Knaves game with Sarah to pass through one of the doors.
- Can Not Tell A Lie: Two of the brothers always tell the truth, and others always lie.
- Knights and Knaves: They play a Knights and Knaves game with Sarah to pass through one of the doors.
The Door Knockers
A pair of animated door knockers who offer Sarah and Ludo a door to go through. One of them is deaf due to his knocker ring being in his ears, and the other in unable to talk since his ring is in his mouth.
- Animate Inanimate Object: They're a pair of animated door knockers.
- Door of Doom: Averted, since the doors (or at least one) lead to seemingly safe places.
- I Can't Hear You: One of the knockers can't hear the other one and is quite grouchy as a result.
The Fireys (or Fire Gang)
A gang of strange fire-red monkey-like goblins who approach Sarah and break into a random musical number. They can use Abnormal Limb Rotation Range and removes their body parts, even their heads, without dying. Things turn a bit wrong when they try to rip off Sarah's head.
- Detachment Combat: Not that they do any fighting.
- Losing Your Head: They can take off their heads without dying.
The Junk Lady
A strange elderly woman who visits Sarah in a replica of her bedroom, carrying a mountain of junk on her back. She attempts to fool Sarah into giving up on rescuing Toby, and seems to attempt to turn her into another Junk Lady by piling her toys on her. But Sarah claims that It's All Junk and escapes the illusion.
- Evil Matriarch: Tries to fool Sarah, and in Return to Labyrinth uses Moppet as a slave.
- Rummage Sale Reject: In the literal sense.
The Goblin Corps
Jareth's army of goblins. Needless to say they're not very competent, but are vast in numbers. One uses a Humongous Mecha to guard the entrance to the Goblin City, ironically named Humongous.
- Humongous Mecha: The giant mecha called Humongous.
- Laugh with Me: Jareth has to use this several times with his minions.
- Onrushing Army: On dinosaur things.
- Surrounded by Idiots: Poor Jareth.
- Surveillance Station Slacker: The guard meant to be protecting the entrance to the Goblin City is sleeping on the job. However, as soon as Sarah, Ludo and Sir Didymus sneak in, he wakes up and summons Humongous.
- Where's the Kaboom?: The living cannonballs and the cannon users are pretty rubbish, one cannonball asks "I hit something, yes?"
Return to Labyrinth
MoppetA mysterious girl, polite and passive, Moppet wears a mask to disguise herself as a goblin. She becomes Toby's best friend and adviser during the story. She was a slave for the Junk Lady, but was hired by Mayor Spittledrum as his servant, but she slowly recalls her Dark and Troubled Past.
- Ambiguously Human: She looks human, but she claims to be 90% Goblin. It's later revealed that she was made to look like Sarah for Jareth.
- Dark and Troubled Past: It is revealed that she resembles Sarah, actually being an "ablation" of Sarah's dreams (ablations are physical manifestations of a person's aspects). She was crated by Mizumi to love Jareth, but she rejected him and was cast out into the junkyard with no memory.
- Dream Within a Dream: She gets trapped in Jareth's dream-trap.
- I Owe You My Life: Why Moppet works for Mayor Spittledrum.
- Identical Stranger: Identical to Sarah, which makes sense since she represents Sarah's dreams.
- The Lancer: To Toby.
- The Reveal: She's an ablation of Sarah and was created to be Sarah's substitute.
- Stalker with a Crush: She has a crush on Candelwic and asks him to dance at the ball, although he lets her down gently.
Hana and StankHana is a stroppy fairy whose wings have been plucked after stealing money from the Flegworts. She is promised by Toby that he will get her new wings. Hana is accompanied by Stank, a miniaturised Ludo who acts as her horse, but has a disgusting hygiene.
- Bittersweet Ending: For Hana when Toby is about to give her a present containing new wings, Stank eats it and sprouts wings. Hana just responds with a remark of "Close enough."
- Broken Bird: Subverted, she became even more grumpy than she was when she had wings.
- Meaningful Name: Hana is Japanese for "flower".
- Our Fairies Are Different: The fairies in the film were described as just being a little rude, Hana is in a whole different league.
- Team Pet: Stank.
- Ungrateful Bastard: Hana lives unknowingly in the Flegworts' clothes shop and helped fix their clothes (in a Shout-Out to the Elves and the Shoemaker). The Flegworts leave her some makeshift clothes as a thank you, but Hana is so angry at this that she steals their money and has her wings clipped.
SkubA little goblin who steals Toby's homework, luring him into the labyrinth. By the powers of Deus ex Machina, he becomes the official chef for King Toby.
- Deus ex Machina: Skittledrum addresses the goblins looking for new servant for Toby, Skub offers to be a cook. Skittledrum rejects him, only for a goblin to run up and say the royal cook exploded, and the remains of her apron's name have left "Skub" on them. Skub gets the job.
Mayor SpittledrumThe mayor of Goblin City, Pangan Spittledrum has Moppet as a servant having bought her from the Junk Lady. Whilst seemingly incompetent, he wants what is best for his fellow goblins. He is flabbergasted when Toby is announced as the next Goblin King, but agrees to work with him mainly due to Toby correctly naming him, which Jareth failed to do.
- Accidental Misnaming: Jareth calls him the wrong names like he did with Hoggle.
- Beleaguered Bureaucrat: It's pretty clear that Jareth spends most of his time lounging around and brooding, while Mayor What's-his-name has to deal with all the administrative and judicial details involved in running a kingdom full of crazy people. This thankless role has made Spittledrum a thoroughly sour goblin.
- Calling Me a Logarithm: Played with; while he's acting as judge at the goblin court, one of the officials present introduces himself as 'the proctor'. Confusing this with 'proctologist', Spittledrum insists on an immediate medical opinion (complete with Censor Bar.)
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He treats Moppet like dirt, but he took her in from the beginning.
- Monster Town: Where everyone is an Eccentric Townsfolk.
- Obstructive Bureaucrat: Rules are rules! Especially long, complicated ones that inconvenience everybody!
- Permanent Elected Official
- Ultimate Authority Mayor: The main source of authority in the labyrinth after Jareth.
Queen MizumiThe Big Bad of the manga, Mizumi is Queen of Cups and had a thing with Jareth years ago that left her as a Woman Scorned. She wishes to conquer the labyrinth by manipulating Toby's actions. She has two daughters, Moulin and Drumlin, and has water-based powers. Mizumi's most unique talent is creating Literal Split Personality creatures called Ablations, made from aspects of a person.
- Abusive Parents: Mizumi absorbs Drumlin for messing up her plans, locks Moulin away and later kills her for betraying her.
- God Save Us from the Queen!: She's a queen and is very evil.
- Literal Split Personality: Mizumi's daughters are ablations, Moulin symbolizing Mizumi's regret, and Drumlin symbolizes her joy.
- Meaningful Name: "Mizu" is Japanese for "water".
- Offing the Offspring: She kills Drumlin.
- Tarot Motifs: Queen of Cups.
- Woman Scorned: Mizumi loved Jareth, but was rejected by him. She later created an ablation named Moppet to replace Sarah, but she rejected Jareth's forceful love.
MoulinOne of Mizumi's daughters. Moulin is a gloomy Book Worm who says little. She is accompanied by a Personal Raincloud named Nimbus, which can manipulate water. When it is revealed that she is an ablation, representing Mizumi's regret, Moulin turns against her mother to aid Moppet.
- Offing the Offspring: Mizumi absorbs Drumlin, and then kills Moulin for betraying her.
- Personal Raincloud: A living cloud named Nimbus, who is constantly producing rain. Moulin carries an umbrella to avoid getting soaked.
DrumlinMizumi's other daughter. Drumlin is a Fat Girl with a more upbeat attitude than her gloomy sister Moulin. She can absorb the water her sister creates via Elemental Absorption, but gets larger everytime she does so, making her Blessed with Suck. She is really an ablation, symbolising Mizumi's joy. She is absorbed by her mother.
- Blessed with Suck: She can absorb the water her sister creates via Elemental Absorption, but gets larger everytime she does so.
- Elemental Absorption: She can absorb water.
- Offing the Offspring: Drumlin is absorbed by Mizumi.